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Abstract

This article discusses features of an intake test for potential trainees for short, locally focused training in rural areas of Victoria, Australia. First, the design and choice of test components are discussed, with reference to the testing tools commonly employed in community interpreting training and in light of the fact that testers could not directly test proficiency skills in the language/s other than English (LOTE). The intake test itself elicited information such as level of motivation, knowledge of skills required of interpreters, and educational and occupational experience. Information elicited through the test provided a basis for diagnosis of testees’ linguistic level, motivation, and general aptitude for acceptance into a training program and was the basis of a needs analysis upon which subsequent training was based. At the end of the training, both trainers and trainees were asked to provide feedback on the intake test’s content. Trainers and trainees both saw the usefulness of these test components: English language level, anecdotal or general knowledge about interpreting, listening and note-taking skills, and communicative pragmatics. Both trainers and trainees identified education level as an important indicator of trainee suitability to training and to a trainee’s capacity to engage successfully, more so than employment history. Components such as reading comprehension and written or sight translation were not rated as useful.

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